Modernising parliamentary democracy

Audit 2017: How democratic is the basic constitutional law of the UK?

Audit 2017: How democratic is the basic constitutional law of the UK?

The foundations of any liberal democracy lie with its constitutional arrangements, which in the UK are famously diverse and uncodified, with no single written ‘constitution’ document.  As part of our 2017 Audit of UK Democracy, Michael Gordon looks at how to assess the democratic basis of constitutional law, and how well recent experience suggests that the […]

Book review | A Woman’s Work, by Harriet Harman

Book review | A Woman’s Work, by Harriet Harman

In A Woman’s Work, Britain’s longest-serving female MP Harriet Harman offers a new memoir reflecting on her experience of high-level politics and the recent history of the Labour Party from the late 1970s to the present. Despite a small number of notable omissions, this is a valuable addition to the genre of political autobiography that puts women’s lived experience […]

The Remainers who now chair select committees will harry the government over Brexit

The Remainers who now chair select committees will harry the government over Brexit

The new cohort of select committee chairs will be scrutinising the work of a weakened government, write Mark Goodwin, Stephen Bates and Marc Geddes. Nine of the 28 are women, reflecting the advantage female MPs enjoy when they stand for committee elections. The current line-up also includes some well-known figures who have clashed with their party […]

Marriage from hell: what can Australia’s coalition tell us about the Tory-DUP government?

Marriage from hell: what can Australia’s coalition tell us about the Tory-DUP government?

For the first time in British history, the Conservatives will be forced to rely on the hardline, illiberal Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to push through legislation. It is also the first time in the modern era that the British government will be forced to rely on a party with a strong sense of regional identity […]

A return to two-party politics? Don’t believe it

A return to two-party politics? Don’t believe it

The snap election may have seen the biggest combined vote between the two main parties since 1970, but this is not the result of lost voters returning to their political homes, writes Darren Hughes. On the contrary, it is the outcome of 21st century voting patterns playing out within a broken 19th century voting system. Similar PostsNo one won […]

How groupthink in Theresa May’s No 10 led to another round of political chaos

How groupthink in Theresa May’s No 10 led to another round of political chaos

The UK’s political turmoil continues with a disastrous Conservative election campaign. But what led to the multiple miscalculations involved? Patrick Dunleavy argues that it forms part of a wider pattern of mis-governing from the centre of Whitehall – and it has characterised Theresa May’s leadership style from the outset. Similar PostsAudit 2017: How democratic and effective are the […]

Plagued by delays: the June election is bad news for the Intelligence and Security Committee

Plagued by delays: the June election is bad news for the Intelligence and Security Committee

The only two female members of the Intelligence and Security Committee are leaving the Commons at the general election, and the whole Committee will have to be re-formed after June. Andrew Defty says one of its reports has been rushed out before the election with the government’s redactions unchallenged, and a long-delayed inquiry into the UK intelligence […]

Over-mighty executive: since 1997, Britain has been drifting towards elective dictatorship

Over-mighty executive: since 1997, Britain has been drifting towards elective dictatorship

Since 1997, simple parliamentary majorities have been used to radically alter the constitutional make-up of the UK. Devolution and the creation of the Supreme Court have transformed the country’s institutions. Nat le Roux argues that this is evidence of a growing imbalance of power. The executive can change the institutions of state at will – often […]

Gender equality in Parliament: how random selection could get us there

Gender equality in Parliament: how random selection could get us there

Would choosing the second chamber by sortition be an effective way to achieve a 50:50 balance between men and women? John Dryzek argues that the upper chamber – in Australia as in the UK, a deliberative forum – would be a good place to start, and looks at ways to ensure women sitting in deliberative […]

The trouble with Jeremy Corbyn: five tests the Labour leader is failing

The trouble with Jeremy Corbyn: five tests the Labour leader is failing

Much of the Parliamentary Labour Party want to replace Jeremy Corbyn, and his popularity among the general public is low. Yet he was resoundingly re-elected by party members last autumn. Patrick Diamond assesses the Labour leader’s performance as an opposition leader according to five criteria, and concludes the risk of a Labour schism between ‘principles’ and […]

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